Recommendations for Helping Parents and Children Navigate the Holidays
At Team 4 Kids, we understand that the holiday season is without a doubt a wonderful time of the year filled with excitement, great memories, and time with family and friends – but all of this also comes with a change in routine, busy schedules, new faces, crowded spaces, and no doubt stress for both yourself and your kiddos!
As we approach the upcoming months of holiday fun, it’s important to take a proactive and intentional approach to mindfulness, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. Being an active role model and participant in these efforts is a key component to effectiveness, so engaging in these activities as a shared and equal experience together is the best approach. Many times we expect children to follow along with our daily changes and simply go along with our schedules leaving them with a lack of control and awareness of their situation.
There are many tools and resources out there to help cope with these hectic months and here are a few recommendations:
- Have a weekly “check-in” at the beginning of each week making sure to identify and talk through any out-of-the-ordinary events to be expected. This will allow your child to mentally and physically prepare for these changes and hopefully reduce any unwanted emotional behaviors to arise.
- Incorporate physical activity into the weekly routine at least 30 minutes, 3x/week such as yoga, guided dance sessions from Youtube, trips to the park, and walks outside. This is a great way to release any unacknowledged anxiety in the body, get physically regulated, and ensure you’re getting some quality time with your kiddo during the busy months.
- Use of visual schedules or checklists. This time of year the” to-do list” can seem daunting and it’s no different for our kids either. Having a visual reinforcement of successfully completing tasks and taking each task one step at a time makes these tasks seem much more attainable.
- Guided mindfulness sessions with the use of kid, teen, and adult-friendly apps such as Headspace (also found on Netflix), The Tapping Method, Mindful Powers, the Sesame Street app (see: breathe, think, do with sesame), or Three Good Things: A Happiness Journal for Use with Older Kiddos. These apps can be very calming and give you and your kiddo a fresh new start when feeling overwhelmed. Great for when you may be experiencing sensory overload.
I hope that these tools help you and your family navigate the holiday season with a bit more ease. Don’t forget the power that lies within physical movement, verbal communication, and having a voice, choice, and an appropriate amount of control in situations. If you have any questions or concerns with your child’s development, give us a call at TEAM 4 Kids!
Kalie Crumpley, OTD, OTR/L